CENT in turn invests into Black owned businesses that address some of South Africa’s largest social problems, such as a lack of decent housing and basic services, poor transport infrastructure and access to areas of economic opportunity, as well as high rates of unemployment.
“We are proud as a group to have raised and contributed the significant sum of R1 million to the CENT fund and believe that this money will help contribute to meaningful enterprise development across some of the key sectors requiring the support of the private sector. We purposefully chose CENT for the range of sectors in which they invest and their robust approach to identifying and supporting these projects” says Douglas Henney, Chair of the Phatshoane Henney Group.
CENT, shortly after Phatshoane Henney Group’s R1 million investment in April, funded an NGO called the Clothing Bank. The funding provided by CENT enabled the Clothing Bank to purchase their own premises from where they donate excess garments to registered Non Profit Organisations for the benefit of clothing those in the care of these organisations. They currently support over 70 organisations within the Western Cape, which includes orphanages, old age homes, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, disaster relief and many more.
In addition, the Clothing Bank enables further enterprise development by empowering unemployed mothers with the skills to become financially as well as socially independent. Self-employment is seen as a solution to the structural unemployment problems that are facing women living in low-income areas in South Africa, which is why the Clothing Bank addresses the need for more business-focused education and support as these women grow sustainable micro businesses.
At the end of last year a large chunk of CENT’s investments went toward providing working capital for SMEs. A sizable investment was also allocated towards SME microfinance as a particularly effective way to support micro-entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas where there is little opportunity to find formal employment.
Large investments were also made in the affordable housing, transport, ICT, waste management and industrial sectors resulting in several job opportunities for entrepreneurs in small and micro businesses. As a result CENT has, since its inception in November 2012, created an additional 3 600 jobs. Of these, 2 574 are a direct result of CENT’s lending, while another 1026 jobs have been created indirectly.
The substantial investment by the Phatshoane Henney Group in enterprise development through CENT was made possible by the support each member firm and demonstrates the commitment of group firms towards the development and support of new enterprise and socio-economic initiatives.